Chapter 0:

Prologue: Lucian V. The Devil

The Devil's Advocate In Another World

<<Prologue: Lucian V. The Devil>>

Have you ever found yourself in the midst of a crime? Were you standing over the body with blood dripping from your hands? Did the surveillance camera catch you robbing that bank with a gun in your hand? Or perhaps you were identified by multiple eyewitnesses selling drugs to the local college kids.

You might think it's all over for you: there's a mountain of evidence, and only an act of God could get you out of this mess. What you don't realize is that you don't need an act of God but an act of the Devil. 

Lucian Hawthorne, 25, was a senior attorney at Kingsley and Frost, one of New York's top law firms. Hired out of college, he had represented over a hundred clients and never lost a single case. As he walked up the steps of the state supreme court, ascending through a crowd of people gathered around to see him, he couldn't help but overhear a group of women murmuring about him. 

"Isn't that Lucian Hawthorne? I hear he graduated Harvard Law at the top of his class when he was only eighteen!"

"I heard that when he was eight years old, he represented himself in court to emancipate himself from his parents!"

"That's nothing! I heard a girl once broke his heart in middle school, and he sued her for emotional distress and won!"

"I wish he would sue me for emotional distress!"

Lucian kept his gaze fixed straight ahead, exuding an air of confidence, seeming utterly unfazed by the reaction he was getting. He had been used to the murmurs and sideways glances for a while now, and while people's thoughts on him were conflicted, they all respected him for his demeanor. He never let the fame and attention from the job get to his head. 

As he reached the top of the stairs, a reporter broke away from the crowd of onlookers and thrust a microphone in his face. "Mr.Hawthorne! Do you have any comments about your client Leo Antonelli? He has been accused of several crimes ranging from racketeering to multiple homicides. Critics have speculated that the mob has had you on their retainer for quite a while now and that the fact that you are representing him should itself be an admittance of guilt."

Lucian's eyes narrowed into a fierce scowl, sending a chill down the reporter's spine and causing her to step back. Lucian grabbed the microphone and looked sternly into the camera as the scowl swiftly turned into a smile.

"The Antonelli family, my esteemed client, has long been the cornerstone of this community. While the media is quick to spread gossip, I implore you, why is the truth never given a chance to shine? Where is the coverage of Mr. Antonelli's generous loans to struggling businesses, often overlooked by banks? What about his unwavering vigilance in dispatching bodyguards to protect these businesses from local crime? And just this morning, Mr. Antonelli, out of his deep love for the community, donated a staggering million dollars to the Antonelli Foundation. Rest assured, Mr. Antonelli is a man of integrity, and if proven otherwise, I will gladly accept this as my final day on earth."

The reporter was about to answer Lucian's questions when he quickly cut her off.

"I'll tell you why. It's because the truth isn't as appealing. There are no ratings to be seen there; you people just want him to be a criminal for your good. Shame on you."

The reporter stood speechless and looked down in shame as she felt the public narrative turn on her quickly. To onlookers, it seemed like a child had just been scolded for a silly statement and set straight. 

As the crowd erupted into applause, Lucian walked into the courtroom to begin what may be the most critical case of his career so far.

"Order! Order in the court!" 

The judge pounded his gavel as he demanded the crowd to calm down.

"The court now calls the Prosecutor to begin their final arguments."

District attorney Michael Steele had been Lucian's long-time rival. To him, a man viewed by the public as someone with honor and integrity, defeating Lucian in a case was the last hurdle of his career. Lucian had bested him many times in the past in multiple high-profile cases. The two were close friends who had come up together in the same law firm as associates in the early days but went on separate career paths much later in life. 

Today's the day Lucian, I finally have you cornered. I've spent months preparing for this case and have every detail down to the tea. You're nervous, aren't you? I bet that smug look of yours is all an act. You're shaking on the inside as the anxiety bottling up in you is about to explode. You're thinking, "This Michael guy, he's good. It was only a matter of time before I lost to ..."

As Michael stared daggers at Lucian, rambling on with his inner monologue, Leo Antonelli, the defendant himself, couldn't help but notice the animosity Michael had aimed toward Lucian.

"Hey Luce, do ya know this guy? He seems to be staring right at you! I don't even receive a look that nasty from guys that have stared down the barrel of my gun!"

Lucian squinted at the man on the other side of the room and looked confused, trying hard to remember if he had seen this before. 

"No clue, he must be new here, probably even a fan of mine. I'll give him an autograph later." 

Antonelli looked nervous. He was aware of the gravity of the situation and the overwhelming evidence against him.

" sure this is all gonna be okay? I know they say you're good, but..."

"Don't worry about it; just stick to the script, and everything will be okay," Lucian assured him. 

The judge pounded his gavel again and asked the prosecution to bring in their final witness.

Michael stood up from his chair and snapped out of it.

"Your honor, the prosecution would like to call Mr.Antonelli to the stand."

As Leo Antonelli took the stand, Michael's tone and demeanor immediately resembled those of a district attorney.

"Mr.Antonelli, throughout this case, you've denied any part in the murder of Viktor Sokolov, the man thought to be the boss of the Russian mob, your rivals. Witnesses that put you at the scene have all but disappeared, and your Alibi seems to be tight-nit, with your wife claiming that you were at the movies with her the night Mr.Sokolov had died. Is everything I've said true so far?"

Before Antonelli could even chuckle, his lawyer was on his feet.

"Objection, Your Honor," the attorney declared sharply. "The question is compound and assumes facts that are heavily disputed. Could we request that the prosecution simplify the question and refrain from combining multiple issues?"

The judge glanced between the lawyer and the prosecutor, nodding solemnly. "Objection sustained. Mr. Michael, please separate your questions to allow for clear responses."

Michael nodded, slightly chastened, and rephrased, "Mr. Antonelli, have you denied involvement in the death of Viktor Sokolov?"

"Yes, I have," Antonelli replied crisply, and then, unable to resist adding with a smirk, "You got it all figured out, huh? Maybe I shoulda just paid you to clear my name. Tell me again, why did I dump all that dough on Lucian?"

The courtroom erupted in laughter as the judge pounded his gavel. "Order! Order in the court! Mr. Antonelli, please stick to answering the questions posed."

Antonelli rolled his eyes but complied, the courtroom still buzzing with suppressed amusement.

"Alright, alright, yeah, yeah, you got it all spot on."

"Alright, Mr. Antonelli, since you've turned into quite the comedian, mind if I share something that might tickle your funny bone too? I found this little audio clip pretty hilarious myself this morning."

Michael fished his phone out of his pocket and tapped the screen. As the audio played, the smirk on Antonelli's face melted into a look of sheer panic.

"Hey Joey, it's Antonelli. Listen, that Russian dude's been a real thorn in our side, way too long. We gotta take him out, capisce? Check your locker, I stashed a piece and an address there. Make it a clean hit, you'll get your cut. Me? I'm hittin' the movies with the missus tonight, so make sure this thing don't trace back to me, alright?"

The jury gasped in horror, along with the rest of the courtroom. The only evidence that could have been more damning was a video of Antonelli shooting the man himself.

Antonelli shook his fist in anger underneath the table, but Lucian's one look calmed him down.

"Ladies and gentlemen, your honor, people of the jury, there we have it: the truth. Mr.Antonelli is a guilty man who deserves to spend the rest of his life behind bars. The prosecution rests its case."

As Michael sat down, the jury continued to murmur amongst themselves as if they had already made up their minds, deciding what sentence Leo Antonelli should be given.

I've finally done it; I've beaten the bastard. After today, I doubt he'll ever show his face in front of me again. But something's not right...Why was he on his phone the whole time, smiling and laughing like an idiot? Does he not realize his client is about to go to prison? Maybe he's realized his situation and finally gone insane...

Just as Michael was about to finish his thought, Lucian stood up and walked to the middle of the courtroom.

"Your honor, the defense would like to call the prosecution's leading attorney, Mirkul Stoole..."

"It's Michael Steele!" Michael interrupted in anger.

"Right, that guy, the defense, would like to call that guy to the stand."

Michael stood up aggressively in protest, pointing his finger at the man he thought was making a mockery of the court.

Michael was at his boiling point but calmed himself down because he saw this as nothing more than an act of desperation.

As Michael took the stand, Lucian looked around the courtroom, which was filled with people who had made up their minds about the case, and wondered about the words that his opponent had said. 

The truth, huh? What is the truth? Is it the damning audio clip that this attorney just played for the court? Is the truth that Mr.Antonelli is a criminal and scum of the lowest kind? That he's guilty of everything he's been accused of and more? 

Lucian walks up to Michael and slowly takes out the phone he has been fiddling with for the past few minutes.

No. The truth is whatever the jury believes it to be, whatever the judge thinks the truth to be. The truth is whatever I convince these people to be.

Lucian presses a button on his screen as an audio clip begins to play, and what unfolds in front of the audience is a strange form of deja vu as Michael's face, too, turns from one filled with confidence and excitement to straight horror.

So, in reality... the truth... is whatever I decide the truth to be.

"Hey Drew, it's Michael here. Great job setting up that hit for that Russian Mob boss. The DA's office has been trying to get that bastard for a while now, but we couldn't make anything stick! This world is better off without thugs like that, so if the justice system won't do its job, we'll take things into our own hands. We can pin everything on that Antonelli guy and get rid of him, too. This stupid judge and jury will believe whatever stupid theories I'll throw their way... "

Michael's vision started to get blurry as his heart started racing.

I didn't say any of this! B-but... why...why does it sound exactly like me? What's going on...I'm don't know what's happ..

"Don't know what's happening, Mr.Hawthorne. Well, don't worry because I just did the exact same thing that you did a few minutes ago! This entire audio clip is, of course, fake."

The entire courtroom erupted into chaos. The judge pounded his gavel to bring them back, but this had gone beyond his control.

"Mr. Hawthorne, I don't know what kind of tricks you're trying to pull here, but..."

"Oh, your honor, this is no trick; I'm simply trying to show how easy it is to falsify evidence! In this age of artificial intelligence, why anything can be faked! This AI-generated audio clip took an amateur like me only a few minutes to create. All I had to do was train it with Mr.Hawthorne's impressive monologue earlier, and now I have my own little defense attorney to answer my calls."

Michael took a quick sigh of relief as he almost saw his entire life flash before his eyes. He then quickly retorted at Lucian

"Okay, but just because your audio clip was fake doesn't mean mine was."

"You're right", says Lucian. "We don't know if that clip was fake or not. But isn't that the point? Mr.Antonelli is a man of many enemies. Wouldn't it seem plausible that anyone could whip up some clips of him talking on the news and try to frame him for this crime?"

The jury was visibly struck. They recognized the validity of Lucian's argument, prompting them to reassess their own perceptions. The distinction between a genuine and a counterfeit audio clip had blurred, casting doubt on their ability to trust their own judgment. How could they possibly convict a man when such significant uncertainty clouded their decision? This turmoil, coupled with the unfavorable view of Michael the audio clip had instilled, lingered in their minds more profoundly than they had yet realized.

As Michael sat back down in his chair, trying to make sense of what had happened, the jury had already decided a verdict.

"We, the Jury, in the case of Antonelli V. The State, find Mr.Antonelli not guilty of all charges"

Chaos once again erupted in the courtroom as Leo Antonelli started tightly hugging Lucian while Lucian kept making failed attempts to get him to stop.

"He is the greatest, huh..." Someone from the audience murmured.

"Yeah, I've started questioning my entire life now..." 

In the midst of the chaos and celebration, a suspicious figure cloaked in a hood had made his way past the crowd. By the time anyone could realize, this man already had a gun pointed at Lucian.

" bastard... You're the reason why he got away... the man who k-killed my wife!"

Lucian recognized the man in question and tried to reason with him.

Your wife, huh... oh right, I did represent that one guy a couple of months ago who had a knack for murdering married women... What was his name again?

But before Lucian could answer his question, he realized everything around him had gone dark. He couldn't see, hear or smell anything. Moments later, a throne materialized before him—an eerie sight crafted from human bones, splattered with blood, and adorned with eyeballs that seemed to stare directly at him. The very sight of it made him want to throw up, but he had to compose himself as he heard footsteps in the far distance slowly approaching him from behind.

"So..... you're the one, the man they claim to be the devil wearing a lawyer's suit. Should I be offended by that? Surely I wouldn't look that ugly, would I?"

Lucian's calm composure had melted away for the first time in his life. Even in the face of murderers and criminals of the worst kind, he showed no fear, but he realized just from the atmosphere around him that this... this thing that was approaching him was beyond any human.

As the mysterious man approached his throne, he listlessly sat down and sized up Lucian.

Lucian didn't need an introduction to realize the man before him was the actual devil, Satan himself. Hoping it was all just a bad dream, Lucian closed his eyes and started telling himself to wake up. 

"It's okay, you're OK, this is just a dream... right? right. I'm going to open my eyes and then wake up in my nice, luxurious, high-rise apartment. Then, I will get in my brand new sports car, which I got from the mob as a present..."

The devil was annoyed at the fact that he was being ignored. He got up and walked up to Lucian to face him eye-to-eye.

Lucian opened his eyes and froze. He had realized that this was no dream, and he was most likely in hell. Lucian prepared himself for his fate as the devil slowly raised his arms, imaging the worst kinds of torture that would await him.

"I'm sorry!!"

The devil screamed his apology at Lucian as he dropped to the ground in a dogeza pose.


Lucian was confused by the sight before him.

 Why is the literal devil groveling on the ground? What's going on? Is this a prank of some sort?

"You see, you weren't supposed to die in that courtroom. Security was supposed to stop that man before he ever got to you, but..."


"Well, you see, Mr.Lucian, I'm a massive fan of yours, and I love watching your cases on the TV! That AI thing you pulled was so cool! I wanted to try it out for myself and thought it would be funny if I could make God say some pervy things."

As Lucian's eyes adjusted to the darkness, he saw that the devil was actually just a bizarre, elderly man, and the once suffocating air of despair had evaporated. Now, the devil was twiddling his fingers like a teenage girl obsessing over her favorite pop star, completely lost in his own little world.

Suddenly, the devil grabbed Lucian’s face and rubbed his own against it like he was snuggling a particularly adorable kitten.

"Well, you see, Mr. Lucian, I got so caught up in the moment that I didn't realize you were dead until it was too late! Ha ha, funny how that works, right? Oopsie."

"Oopsie? I lost my apartment, my car, my stellar career, my LIFE... all because you wanted to play a stupid prank... and you say 'Oopsie'?"


"I see"

Unable to contain his frustration any longer, Lucian snapped. He lunged at the old man, grabbing him by the neck and shaking him vigorously, tears streaming down his face amid a fit of hysterical laughter and sobs.


"Mr.L-ucian... Sir..Pweas.e.. c.almm. do.wn."

Lucian took a second to collect himself and calmly took his hands off the old man.

That's right, Lucian, calm down. You can figure this out. This man is the devil. Surely you can work out something, right?

"Yes, we can! you see, I'm also a god for another world! A world of magic and fantasy, adventure and friendship! You like criminals, don't you? Fine, then I'll send you to a world full of them! You see, this world is in quite some chaos right now, and a lawyer is exactly the kind of person they need, right!"

Okay, Lucian, this old man is clearly going senile. He wants to send you to a dangerous world with all kinds of weird and scary creatures and criminals. You need to ask to see his supervisor and threaten them with legal charges for negligence. Wait, did this old man just read my mind?

"Yes, I did, and you see, you don't have a choice. You haven't exactly lived an admirable life in many of God's eyes, so in their eyes, you don't even deserve this chance to go to a different world in the first place. But don't worry! To prove that you'll be a reformed man, I've given them a condition to grant you privilege based on a simple condition!"

"Okay, old man, maybe I judged you too harshly. What exactly is this condition I need to fulfill?"

"Well.. you see.. the other gods want you to save the lives of a few people. But you're a lawyer, and the death penalty is pretty much the only charge you get in that world, so all you have to do is prove their innocence! Simple right?"

"Right... And how many lives would I have to save?"

The old man lowered his voice and looked away from Lucian, mumbling his words in a incomprehensible fashion.


"What did you say?"

"A few million..."

"A few million huh..."

"Yes, you see, they were only looking to save a few hundred people, but I was like, 'What? Are you kidding? Do you have any idea how brilliant Mr. Lucian is as a lawyer? This is practically an insult! Forget a few hundred, this guy could save a few thou—no, save us a few million!' I really put them in their place, huh?"

A brief, awkward silence fell between them as the old man, with a gleam of triumph in his eye, awaited Lucian's reaction.


The old man sported a cheeky "teehee" expression as Lucian vibrated with frustration. Just as Lucian was about to finish his tirade, a portal whipped open behind him and whisked him away.

"Yoouuuu basstaaarddd I'll get youuu for thisss!"

"Bye bye, Sir Lucian! Stay safe! I’m cheering for you!"

With a tearful wave, the devil bid farewell to his favorite lawyer, sending him off with the best of luck in this bizarre realm once called Gehenna.